Richard Harcourt

Rich has helped us out on a few of our projects but for this profile we sat down and asked him about his specific experiences with Open City.

Meet Rich

Can you tell me who you are, what you do and give us an interesting fact about you?

Hmmm, I like making stuff and am enjoying learning again in my middle years. Really enjoy these community focused projects that bring people together with many skills, everyone’s strengths coming out for a common good. I love the blend of technology and people coming together with a simple uncomplicated outcome that makes people’s lives better in some way. Interesting fact, ok well…… ummmm…… ok….. I can’t code to save myself so hence I network around a lot to hunt out collaborative and similarly minded people to help each other with our projects and contribute our respective strengths – I’m a late learner on this front and really find it neat.

Can you explain why you got involved with the Open City project?

The nice ladies at Gap Filler bribed me with cake and coffee and charmed me into it, sounded like a good idea at the time so of course, I said yes…..

What surprised you most about the Open City project?

It was a lot more complex and time-consuming than I expected, but as a result of that, the rewards were a lot more too in terms of learning and satisfaction. We really started with a crazy idea and said yes let’s do it, someone mentioned Raspberry Pi and it was all on! Python, Raspian, electronics, solar, CNC machining, 3D design, all kinds of technical challenges.

What have been the benefits of getting involved for you?

Learned to communicate better, goals and priorities and self-management, teamwork. The most satisfying part has been working across multiple disciplines of computing and engineering and the social side of the project, it crosses so many areas that I was exposed to and hence learned more and found it very interesting and satisfying.

Would you do anything differently next time?

Plan and research better before I start!!!

What’s your favourite thing about Christchurch right now?

Seeing the recovery continue, for example, the new library being built in town I think is a great location, progress like that will put some life back into the CBD.

If you could see anything happen in this city – what would it be?

CCC and government take a deep breath and look at priorities. Sort out the important infrastructure stuff that will help CHCH community long term and forget some of the more politically driven projects. I do have a concern that a lot of roading and infrastructure repair will be with us for decades of repair on top of poor repair and this needs to be stopped and things are done properly.

Any feedback you’d like to give Gap Filler?

Keep coming up with more crazy projects, I’m in!

We’re so grateful to people like Richard who help our projects be better than we ever hoped they could be. Thanks Rich!

Abigail Neave Open City